Xinyiquan and Xingyiquan

In most of the materials both styles of Xinyiquan (Hsin-I Chuan) and Xingyiquan (Hsing-I Chuan) are called by the latter name. This is mainly because Xingyiquan is by far more popular and influencial as well as because Xinyiquan for a long time has been considered lost art.

Xinyiquan (literally Mind-Intent Boxing) is said to have been created by Yue Fei, general, patriot and national hero who lived in Song dynasty (12th century). However historical records point at Ji Longfeng (Ji Jike) living in 17th century as the one who created the art on the basis of his experience in spear fighting. The art was passed to Ma Xueli, who transmitted it to moslem communities in Henan province and became the main self-defence mean Islam followers in China, kept in secret and not passed to people of other nationalities until 1930s. Another branch was passed to Dai clan in Shanxi province, who developed it into a very sophisticated and internalized art. Li Laoneng learnt from Dai clan in 19th century and taught in both Shanxi and Hebei provinces. It was Li and his students who made the art very popular. From their times the art changed its name into Xingyiquan (literally Shape-Intent Boxing) and was completely reformed into a style differing a lot from Xinyiquan. It was Xingyiquan that Yi Quan (Intent Boxing) was based on when created by Wang Xiangzhai.

There is other arts closely related to Xinyiquan. One is Shaolin Xinyiba, the most treasured of all Shaolin styles, while he other is called Jin Family Gongfu (Skill) and is still practiced by a small number of practitioners in Sichuan province.

Technically Xinyi and Xingyi share common feature of straight line drills, with direct and effective movements. The difference between styles lies in basic methods: Xinyi is based on Dantian methods, practised in movement, while Xingyi stresses importance of still standing in San Ti stance.

Of all internal arts Xinyiquan and Xingyiquan were considered those that could give the fighting skill in shortest time due to its focus on Obvious Power during the first years of practice. As Chinese saying goes "Taiji does not leave practice hall for ten years, while Xinyi kills in one year".

  • The Secret of Old Three Fists - Brief Overview of the Oldest Methods of Xinyi and Xingyi - Three Fists - Drilling, Wrapping and Scissors - are almost unknown part of Xinyi and Xingyi curriculum. While there are clear records of Three Fists in boxing manuals, because of conservative approach of the teachers (who considered Three Fists as "Three Treasures") very few learnt them and even those are reluctant to pass them further. Some teachers who never had the opportunity to learn Three Fists decided to "re-create" them. Hence the original concept of Three Fists as three specific fist techniques (as taught within Dai clan who created them) has changed and evolved into more abstract/general concepts of multidirectional power or certain power storing/releasing process. The article discusses all main ideas of Three Fists as taught within Dai Family Xinyi, Xingyi, Yi Quan and Henan Xinyi Liuhe Quan. Translations of old and modern Chinese texts - including parts of very rare "Dai Family  Xinyi Boxing Manual" - accompany the article. This is first article discussing Three Fists ever published.

  • Interview with Mr. Di Guoyong, Xingyiquan expert from Beijing and president of Beijing Xingyiquan Research Association - Mr. Di Guoyong is not only famous for his skill in Xingyiquan, but also in Chuo Jiao Fanzi Boxing and Liang Style Baguazhang, arts which he learnt from Wu Binlou and Li Ziming. In the interview Mr Di talks about his own martial arts practice, theory of Xingyiquan, weapons, relations between Xingyiquan and traditional Chinese Medicine etc. The interview is supplemented with detailed notes about Shang Yunxiang and his "New Style" of Hebei Xingyiquan, Wu Binlou and Chuo Jiao Fanzi Boxing as well as with excerpts from Sun Lutang's "The True Essence of Boxing", for the first time translated into English.

  • Guo Weihan - The Missing Link in the History of Xingyiquan Found? - This is one of the very first articles on one of the almost unknown branches of Xinyiquan practiced in Shanxi Province countryside ever published (one short note appeared in Chinese "Wuhun" magazine). For the first time Guo Weihan's name was mentioned several years ago by Dai style Xinyiquan practitioners, who denied that Li Laoneng learnt from Dai clan and claimed Guo was Li's teacher. This claim resulted in a hot discussion among Chinese Xinyi and Xingyi practitioners, but the question who was Li's teacher has not been definitively answered. The importance of the question lies not only in searching for the historical truth about the Li Laoneng's lineage, but also in explaining the obvious differences between Dai Family Xinyi and Xingyiquan. These differences are usually attributed either to the fact that Li probably did not receive full transmission of the art or to the changes he made to make the art more efficient. My visit in Guo Weihan's home village in May 2001 was the first research held by a foreigner there.

  • Xinyi Liuhe Quan - the secret art of Chinese Muslims - Part One - Brief History - Henan Xinyi Liuhe Quan ("Mind-Intention and Six Harmonies Boxing"), also known as Moslem Xingyi or Ten Animals Xingyi in the West, for more than two centuries was passed secretly among Chinese Moslems of Hui nationality. In the 20s and 30s of this century the style came out into light after people like Lu Song'gao, Sun Shaopu and others brought it from Henan's conutryside to Shanghai, the largest and most modern city in China, and started to teach non-Moslems. It was at that time when Xinyi Liuhe Quan became known as the most cruel of all Chinese martial arts. Almost unknown in the West the style is worth further research because of its close relations with Dai Family Xinyi and Xingyiquan. It is said to have preserved the features of early Xinyiquan as practiced in 17th and 18th centuries.

  • Classical Texts on Xingyiquan - Excerpts from "Five Elements Essentials of Yue's Intention Boxing - originally written at the beginning of this century by Li Cunyi, called "Single Broadsword Li" for his exquisite broadsword skills, were revised and published in 1934 by Li's student, Dong Xiusheng. In this article you will not only find translations (for the first time into language other than Chinese) of four chapters from the book, which can be useful for Xingyi and other martial arts practitioners, but also biographies of Li Cunyi and Dong Xiusheng. Please not that rhymed formulas for Five Elements Fists are different than those in Sun Lutang's "The Study of Xingyiquan". This could be another proof for thesis that most of Xingyiquan boxing manuals (Quan Pu) were written not earlier than in the beginning of this century and were not, as some claim, passed to Li Laoneng by his teacher.

  • Dai Family Xinyiquan - The Technical Characteristics - Part One - for the first time introduces practice methods and techniques of this rare style in language other than Chinese. The mother art for Xingyiquan does not share common features with its child and therefore not only inconveniences researchers but also leads to differences in opinions between practitioners of both arts.

  • Dai Family Xinyiquan - The Origins and Development - This article introduces the art Xingyiquan derives from - Dai Family Xinyiquan. This is for sure the very first introduction to this style in English. Dai Family Boxing is a very rare martial art practiced by very few people in one remote part of Shanxi Province. The first articles revealing certain aspects of this jealously protected art were published about 1984 and only since that time it started to develop slowly. However, its practitioners are still very reluctant to show the art to outsiders. When I visited them for the first time in 1994 (the area was closed to foreigners before), it took me quite a time to be permitted to take pictures but they disagreed to be video taped.

  • Ode to Che Style Xingyiquan - is my translation of a modern piece, an ode, which in a poetic form introduces another art coming from Shanxi Province, Che Style Xingyiquan. Although not as secret as Dai Family Boxing, this style and its exponents are definitively much less known then their Hebei Province Xingyi brother. This article should allow Xingyi practitioners to see the difference between two branches. The author of the "Ode", prof. Che Xiangqian, is a former president of Taigu Xingyiquan Association (Taigu in Shanxi Province is, along with Shen County in Hebei, one of two centers of traditional Xingyiquan in China).

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@ Jarek Szymanski 1999-2020. All rights reserved

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